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Do you really need a cpu that is over $100?

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  • CPUs
  • AMD
  • Intel
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June 9, 2011 6:17:01 AM

After reading all this AMD and Intel crap about SB, BD, IB, etc. and so on...I started to think do you really need all this BS? I just came up with a thought to see my normal cpu usage. It turns out even while listening to Winamp, watching a video on Youtube, watching a 720p movie via VLC...my Athlon 2x4 3.0ghz(bought with a mobo combo and newegg.com for under $190US) hovers below 35% usage. That really tells me that all these Intel fanboys must be decoding a LOT of videos or doing some real intensive work to justify spending hundreds on the cpu alone while the mobo cost more than their AMD counterparts. I'm a little bit of an AMD fanboy(just a little bit :D  ). I'm not an AMD fanatic who will buy chips that are inferior at the same price tier if competing against a superior product. Don't get me wrong, I'm not blasting Intel, I just cannot understand some people who buy such expensive cpu's and skimp out on their gpu when all they have to do is buy an AMD chip and use the rest of that money to expand their GPU budget. So my thought is this. If you're building for someone does web browsing all day and light gaming, can't go wrong with a cheap AMD build(very possible to build a $300 rig due to sinking ddr3 ram prices for this). If you're strictly a gamer, go for cheap AMD cpu and expensive GPU. IF you're snobbishly rich or got gobs of cash in your budget for a gaming pc, be my guest and fuel Intel's pockets. They always say AMD is around to keep Intel's prices in check, but I also believe it's vice versa so I love having this new Athlon IIx4 of mine that I built for under $400 :lol: 

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June 9, 2011 6:27:17 AM

phatbuddha79 said:
After reading all this AMD and Intel crap about SB, BD, IB, etc. and so on...I started to think do you really need all this BS? I just came up with a thought to see my normal cpu usage. It turns out even while listening to Winamp, watching a video on Youtube, watching a 720p movie via VLC...my Athlon 2x4 3.0ghz(bought with a mobo combo and newegg.com for under $190US) hovers below 35% usage. That really tells me that all these Intel fanboys must be decoding a LOT of videos or doing some real intensive work to justify spending hundreds on the cpu alone while the mobo cost more than their AMD counterparts. I'm a little bit of an AMD fanboy(just a little bit :D  ). I'm not an AMD fanatic who will buy chips that are inferior at the same price tier if competing against a superior product. Don't get me wrong, I'm not blasting Intel, I just cannot understand some people who buy such expensive cpu's and skimp out on their gpu when all they have to do is buy an AMD chip and use the rest of that money to expand their GPU budget. So my thought is this. If you're building for someone does web browsing all day and light gaming, can't go wrong with a cheap AMD build(very possible to build a $300 rig due to sinking ddr3 ram prices for this). If you're strictly a gamer, go for cheap AMD cpu and expensive GPU. IF you're snobbishly rich or got gobs of cash in your budget for a gaming pc, be my guest and fuel Intel's pockets. They always say AMD is around to keep Intel's prices in check, but I also believe it's vice versa so I love having this new Athlon IIx4 of mine that I built for under $400 :lol: 



edit: Whoops, looks like I didn't build it for $400, just did an estimation it looks like i spent roughly $480. Still not bad for a machine that is not stressed by daily usage and can game at reasonable resolutions with even current games. Keep in mind $480 is when I bought these components at a reduced discount for I am a scavenger for deals.
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June 9, 2011 6:29:41 AM

You have some valid points. Though no point arguing over price points. There cannot be specific CPU's built for specific tasks in the general market. In other words, every CPU needs to be a jack of all trades. So its the buyers duty to do the research and get stuff pertaining to his/her needs. Intel currently has the best performing all rounded processors and they cost accordingly. In fact I believe some Intel CPU's (like the i5 2500k) have more value for money even though they are priced sometimes above 200$.
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June 9, 2011 6:52:35 AM

Yes, very true. If I was to plunk down over $200 for a cpu, AMD is far inferior. My thread is basically to express my opinion that in MOST cases, you do not need more than a $100 cpu these days. If I was to build a budget pc for a very light user, I might even go lower ($60 regors) but for those extra $40, why not spend it for 2 more cores?
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June 9, 2011 9:13:58 AM

You get what you pay for. And many people prefer to pay extra for a faster and better CPU.
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June 9, 2011 9:33:56 AM

No you do not. The average consumer, which vastly outnumber the desktop gamers, won't do much more than browsing, watch HD videos on youtube, and play flash Facebook games or Angry Birds. The total cost for those kinds of CPUs is somewhere around $50-100 per piece, and you can find those on tablets/smartphones/and low-end laptops, which by far outsell desktop CPUs/high-end laptop CPUs of any kind.
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June 9, 2011 9:36:02 AM

That they will never use.
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June 9, 2011 10:35:13 AM

It all depends on what you use your PC for.

I've been encoding DVDs since around 2003 so the faster the processor the less time it takes to complete the job. I like to have movies stored on my hard drives for easy access. Encoding using DivX and XviD codecs was relatively easy. But encoding with x.264 takes a bit more processing power; even though a program like Handbrake can make use of all 4 cores in my Q9450, it still takes quite a bit of time to encode a DVD.

Encoding Blu-Rays would simply bring my system to it's knees. I simulated encoding a Blu-Ray movie by encoding a DVD using x.264 codec to 1920x1080 resolution. If I remember correctly my computer was encoding at about 6 or 7 frames per second based on the video quality settings I was using. Based on a two-pass encoding process that works out to almost 14 hours to encode a 120 minute movie.

Games? I may buy 2 or 3 games a year.

It boils down to I don't care what CPU other people have in their PC. I only care what my CPU is capable of. Based on my simulated test, once I switch over to Blu-Ray, I will upgrade my PC with a more capable CPU sometime next year.

At this point in time, I am looking forward to Ivy Bridge.
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June 9, 2011 12:13:31 PM

You got lucky and picked a card that tends to use less cpu power when gaming.
The 4770 to 6770, the 640 to 800 shader cards, are known to sip cpu power to feed them. The nvidia cards work the cpu more to feed them and so do the amd cards with over 800 shaders.

I am running a 939-x2-4400+@2.5ghz/4870 and it too plays games well in spite of the slower cpu.

If you drop something like a 570 or 6950 into it, that slower cpu will not keep up.

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June 9, 2011 4:37:58 PM

The problem with a hundred dollar processor is that if programming should ever catch up, (which at some point it will like jaguarskx pointed out) your hundred dollar processor will be brough to its knees, and the guy who bought his 200 plus will still catch a few more years off it. Investing your money wisely sometimes requires going above and beyond the first time.
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June 9, 2011 5:17:29 PM

mrmotion said:
The problem with a hundred dollar processor is that if programming should ever catch up, (which at some point it will like jaguarskx pointed out) your hundred dollar processor will be brough to its knees, and the guy who bought his 200 plus will still catch a few more years off it. Investing your money wisely sometimes requires going above and beyond the first time.


Your post is true to a certain extent, but can you argue the fact that a 2500k or 2600k will one day also be obsolete? Priced against the Athlon IIx640, the 2500k is over 2x and 2600k is 3x. Getting a year or two extra of longevity with a cost expense of 100% or 200% over in my opinion is not worth it. I tend to build a completely new system every 3 years. That's also why sometimes I do not understand people who upgrade only their cpu or sometimes their gpu when quite possibly the rest of their system is a bottleneck.
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June 10, 2011 3:13:21 AM

^however, if your building a PC for gaming, a core i3 2100 will thump ANY AMD cpu currently out in 99% of games, and it costs the same as an phenom 965. To get good gaming performance some people require high end CPU's, thats fine if it does nothing for you, but other people can notice the difference, especially people with high res monitors and dual vid cards,.
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June 10, 2011 3:40:24 AM

Here is something to think about why I bought a I7-2600k, When I'm not gaming, I am folding. This cpu is currently the best bang for the buck when folding. The only cpu's that top it are the Intel 6 cores and server setups running dual processors or better. The last upgrade I did in which I still have folding also is the I7-920 currently clocked at 3.8ghz. We all don't buy new equipment just to game with, Some of us actually do something with the stuff we have for medical research.
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June 10, 2011 4:10:09 AM

phatbuddha79 said:
Your post is true to a certain extent, but can you argue the fact that a 2500k or 2600k will one day also be obsolete? Priced against the Athlon IIx640, the 2500k is over 2x and 2600k is 3x. Getting a year or two extra of longevity with a cost expense of 100% or 200% over in my opinion is not worth it. I tend to build a completely new system every 3 years. That's also why sometimes I do not understand people who upgrade only their cpu or sometimes their gpu when quite possibly the rest of their system is a bottleneck.


Everything eventually becomes obsolete. Based on what you are saying you can argue the point to not buy a computer at all. Why buy a computer if it is just going to become obsolete anyway? Just save your money and let technology pass you by.


Everyone has their own performance/price point. If you are okay with it taking 14 hours to encode a 2 hour movie, then good for you. That level of performance (or lack thereof) is unacceptable for most people.

Video encoding is just one example of something that requires a lot of computation processing power. There are others as well such as 3D rendering and photo editing.

If all you care about is gaming then the dual core Intel Core i3 should be your CPU of choice since it can beat a quad core Phenom II X4 955BE at games.
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June 10, 2011 4:44:24 AM

Sorry I would answer your question, but I'm too busy encoding right now. I'll get back to you in a few weeks :) 
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June 10, 2011 7:46:40 AM

mrmotion said:
The problem with a hundred dollar processor is that if programming should ever catch up, (which at some point it will like jaguarskx pointed out) your hundred dollar processor will be brough to its knees, and the guy who bought his 200 plus will still catch a few more years off it. Investing your money wisely sometimes requires going above and beyond the first time.


If you take into account the rate at which things are updating though - your 100 dollars will then buy a processor which will probably have twice as many cores and run at higher clock rates and use less power than your 200 dollar processor.

Perhaps they ought to change tack with power consumption - instead of reducing power - increase power usage - then replace the heat sink with either a frying pan or a small kettle....

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June 11, 2011 4:33:17 AM

Best answer selected by phatbuddha79.
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June 11, 2011 4:34:25 AM

jaguarskx said:
Everything eventually becomes obsolete. Based on what you are saying you can argue the point to not buy a computer at all. Why buy a computer if it is just going to become obsolete anyway? Just save your money and let technology pass you by.


Everyone has their own performance/price point. If you are okay with it taking 14 hours to encode a 2 hour movie, then good for you. That level of performance (or lack thereof) is unacceptable for most people.

Video encoding is just one example of something that requires a lot of computation processing power. There are others as well such as 3D rendering and photo editing.

If all you care about is gaming then the dual core Intel Core i3 should be your CPU of choice since it can beat a quad core Phenom II X4 955BE at games.


I guess this explains it all. It all depends on WHAT you do with it and how much you're willing to spend.
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